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There will be no snow around next month when the '68 Olympic ski runs at Grenoble are first tested, but International Ski Federation (FIS) President Marc Hodler shrugs that off. "What is important on the ski runs," he says, "is not so much the snow, but what is below." Also around. The element of nature that concerns Hodler the most at Grenoble is not snow but fog. Already the FIS has made alternate fog-date plans for the downhill competition, for the fog comes upon the Chamrousse area like a giant blob and then crouches there for days on end, as thick as the broth that is usually only found lurking about cemeteries in horror movies.
One efficient fog dispenser has been developed (hooray!) but, alas, the chemical solution works by condensing the fog and turning it into a wet slop on the ground (hiss!). The choice Olympians may have: bank into the fog bank or schuss into the slush.
THE SUMMER THE SUN DIDN'T SHINE
There has never been so dreary a summer on the eastern seaboard—day upon cloudy day. Oils, lotions and gaudy beach towels lie in sullen heaps in the variety stores. Lifeguards, who usually possess skins of mahogany by now, report getting burned on the rare days the sun does peek through. Lifetime friends—not to mention families—have become frenzied, locked together for whole weekends in murky beach cottages. The trauma of returning to the city, ghostly white, has shattered egos throughout megalopolis. That familiar office institution, the Monday Morning Once-Over (MMOO), where proud possessors of weekend skins the color of regulation footballs match bare arms, disappeared early in this strange, dark summer.
From Virginia Beach to Cape Cod sun time has been measured at new lows. Ocean City, Md. has seen the dark days kill business 20% to 30%. Rentals are only 60% of capacity on the Cape. At Falmouth parking and locker fees—directly related to beach population—are off 25%. And even that is not a true indication of the sunlessness, since many weekenders, like moths to a flame, must go on the beach once they are near one. This sad '67 type has been evident in legion, all summer—bundled, dazed and caked with a superfluous lotion. Friends sometimes recognize their plight, say that now familiar expression: "They've had too much cloud," and cart the pallid fellows inside.
HOW NOW, FLOWER POWER?
"Hip" and its related terms were not originally taken from the dialects of languid jazz musicians or soulful Negroes, as is commonly assumed—particularly by the peace-loving types who embrace "hippie" as their own definition. The hippies may, in fact, be surprised to learn that the name has a rather violent origin. Wrestling matches in the British countryside were responsible for the term, San Francisco Etymologist Peter Tamony says, and the expression also moved into boxing, where it stayed until the Marquess of Queensberry removed some of the bestiality from the sport.
"British country-wrestling is a standup art," Tamony writes. "A contest ends when any part of the body, except the soles of the feet, touches the ground. Of the several methods employed to effect this conclusion, the simplest is to get an opponent on the hip." Tamony describes this as a "cross-buttock" hold. One who had another on the hip was in command of the situation, and the expression moved into the vernacular that way. "Now infidel," Shylock told Antonio, "I have you on the hip." The Shakespearean audience was, presumably, hip to Antonio's plight.
You dig history, Baby? Biff! Pow!